About a block from the garage entrance, we turned down the street and found a line of protesters standing in our way. To get back to our car, we’d have to go through them. My friend and I were wearing “Make America Great Again” Trump hats. We were targets, and I was terrified. I could feel it coming — they would look at me and start walking up to me.
Before we could make it into the garage, four or five men surrounded me, and another four surrounded my friend. They just started swinging. We swung back as best as we could. My main thing was I didn’t want to fall; I didn’t want to be knocked down. I’m not a big guy, but I can defend myself as best I can if it’s one on one — but not when they have so much anger against us.
One of the blows caught my nose, and blood just started pouring out. That kind of stunned them, and they backed off a quick second. My adrenaline kicked in; I felt punches on my head, and I felt the punch that hit my nose, but I was in survival mode by then, and I didn’t realize until later how much it hurt. I called my friend, “Okay, let’s go!”
We ran into the parking garage, and we thought we were safe, but there were another few dozen protesters there, too. We got in our car and headed toward the exit. Some protesters jumped on the cars in front of us, but we eventually made it out. My friend drove me to the emergency room because my nose was pouring blood. I had a broken nose, and because I was covered with scratches, I had to get a tetanus shot, too. It took a lot out of me, much more than I realized at first; my headaches and soreness didn’t start to go away until a week later.
The whole thing made me angry. Here in Northern California, I feel like I’m a unicorn: I’m a gay Hispanic who’s a Republican. It was much harder to come out as a Trump supporter than it was to come out as gay — the minute you say you’re for Trump, everyone comes at you — but this has pushed me out of the closet about it completely.
I should be able to vote for whom I want, and I shouldn’t have to deal with violence to go hear my candidate speak.